SAN DIEGO -- A jury Wednesday awarded nearly $11 million in damages to a woman and her daughter, who were seriously hurt in a head-on collision caused by a Pizza Hut delivery driver who had a seizure just before the crash.
After deliberating for two days, jurors found that Nicole Fisk's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the November 2008 crash in Clairemont that injured 87-year-old Olena Novak and her 62-year-old daughter, Shari.
Jurors found that Pizza Hut was not negligent in hiring Fisk, who, according to the company, had a seizure and blacked out right before the collision.
Attorneys for the company said it did its due diligence when hiring the 18-year-old driver, making sure she had a valid license and insurance.
Pizza Hut attorney James Yukevich said Fisk saw a doctor several times between January and August 2007, complaining of "staring spells" and trouble breathing, but was not diagnosed with epilepsy.
After the collision, Fisk learned she was suffering from a "complex seizure disorder," Yukevich said.
Outside court, John Gomez, the attorney for Shari Novak, said the jury imposed the proper verdict which holds Pizza Hut responsible for the accident because it hired Fisk.
Olena Novak suffered a broken neck and other injuries in the crash, and her daughter suffered permanent brain damage and can no longer care for herself, he said.
Last year, attorneys for the Novaks sued Fisk and Pizza Hut, seeking unspecified damages. Fisk was eventually dropped from the lawsuit.
The jury Wednesday awarded Shari Novak $8.6 million for past and future medical costs and past and future non-economic loss, such as physical pain and suffering.
Jurors awarded Olena Novak nearly $2.2 million for past medical expenses, past and future lost earnings and past and future non-economic loss.